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What Does a Project Manager Do?
A project manager is a professional who is responsible for the planning, execution, and completion of a project. They are usually in charge of a team (or multiple teams) of workers and are tasked with making sure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
Project managers have a variety of responsibilities, including managing budgets and schedules, ensuring that all workers are performing their tasks correctly, and dealing with any unexpected problems or changes that may arise. They also need to have strong organizational skills, as well as good communication and problem-solving skills. There are a few different types of project managers, depending on their industry and area of expertise. For example, there are construction project managers, digital project managers, and marketing project managers.
In this article, we will discuss the role of a project manager in detail, including what they do on a daily basis, what skills are important to their success, how to best measure their work, and provide a general overview as to where and how project managers fit into the strategy of an organization.
The Project Manager Role: The Basics
While account managers are tasked more with maintaining client relationships, project managers help businesses make sure that their projects are completed on time and within budget. They make sure that all members of a project are doing their jobs correctly, and they solve any problems that may come up. They also need to be good at organizing and communicating.
Project managers do different things depending on what industry they work in. For example, a project manager in the construction industry might have to make sure that all the workers are doing their jobs correctly and on time, while a project manager in the software industry might have to make sure that the software is working properly and is meeting customers' needs. However, there are some responsibilities and skills that are universal to all project managers, no matter what industry they work in.
As a project manager, you will be responsible for the overall planning, execution, and success of a project. You will need to have strong organizational and communication skills in order to be successful. You will also need to be able to work well under pressure and handle stress, all while adhering to project management best practices and methodologies throughout each stage of the project.
What are those stages, exactly? Let's take a closer look at each one:
During the initiation stage, the project manager will work with the client or sponsor to determine the goals and objectives of the project. They will also create a project charter that outlines the scope, timeline, budget, and resources for the project. This is an important stage, as it sets the foundation for the entire project.
After the initiation stage, the project manager will move into the planning stage. During this phase, they will develop a detailed project plan that includes all of the tasks that need to be completed, who will be responsible for each task, and when each task needs to be completed. The project manager will also create a risk management plan and establish communication protocols during this stage.
During the execution phase, the project manager will work with the team to complete the tasks that have been outlined in the project plan. This is where most of the "work" of the project will get done. The project manager will need to be available to answer questions, provide guidance, and resolve any issues that arise.
Monitoring & Control
The monitoring and control phase is when the project manager will track the progress of the project and ensure that it stays on track. They will also monitor the budget and resources to make sure that they are being used effectively. This is an important phase, as it allows the project manager to identify and address any issues before they become major problems.
After the project is completed, the project manager will enter the closeout phase. During this phase, they will complete a final review of the project, make sure that all deliverables have been met, and tie up any loose ends. They will also create a project report that documents the results of the project.
These are the five main phases of a project, but it's important to note that not all projects will follow this exact same timeline. Some projects might skip the monitoring and control phase, while others might spend more time in the planning phase. It all depends on the specific project.
What Does a Project Manager Do on a Daily Basis?
Now that we've gone over the different phases of a project, let's take a closer look at the responsibilities and skills that are essential to being a successful project manager, and what their day-to-day tasks might entail.
A project manager's day-to-day tasks will vary depending on the specific project they are working on, but there are some common responsibilities and skills that are essential to being successful in the role.
First and foremost, a project manager needs to be able to effectively communicate with all members of the team, from the sponsor or client to the individual contributors. They need to be able to clearly articulate the goals and objectives of the project, as well as any deadlines or expectations. This also includes being able to give clear instructions and provide feedback in a way that is constructive and helpful. Having this particular skill set will allow the project manager to effectively lead the team and ensure that everyone is on the same page, regardless of what they are doing throughout the project.
But what exactly does a project manager do? Here are some of the typical day-to-day tasks that a project manager might be responsible for.
Meet with leadership to decide the scope of an upcoming project
Project managers are responsible for the success of a project, and must work with leadership to determine the scope of an upcoming project. This includes understanding the goals and objectives of the project, as well as any deadlines or expectations. They will also develop a detailed project plan that outlines all of the tasks that need to be completed, who will be responsible for each task, and when each task needs to be completed.
Pitch to the finance team to increase the budget
Project managers are also responsible for working with the finance team to ensure that the project has the necessary budget. This can involve making a case for why the project needs more money or an additional team member, as well as negotiating with the finance team to get the desired budget.
Outline a project charter
After the scope of the project has been determined, the project manager will develop a project charter. This document outlines all of the details of the project, including the objectives, timeline, budget, and deliverables. The project charter is used to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
Create a risk assessment report
Project managers are also responsible for identifying and managing risks. This includes creating a risk assessment report that outlines all of the potential risks associated with the project, as well as the mitigation strategies.
Check-in with the project team for a daily standup and progress report
Project managers need to stay in close communication with the project team. This includes having a daily standup to check in on the progress of the project, as well as getting regular progress reports.
Update the calendar to reflect timeline shifts
As the project progresses, the project manager will need to update the project calendar to reflect any changes in the timeline. This includes adding new tasks, shifting deadlines, and removing completed tasks.
Manage and re-allocate tasks across the team to make sure no one’s overcapacity
Project managers need to constantly monitor the progress of the project and make sure that everyone on the team is on track. This includes reallocating tasks if someone falls behind or is over capacity.
Check-in with a team member who’s struggling with their workload
Staying in close communication with the team also includes checking in with individuals who may be struggling with their workload. This can involve reassigning tasks, providing additional resources, or offering support. Project managers often play a small HR role in that they need to make sure that everyone on the team is happy and productive while preventing burnout.
Making sure that all deadlines are met and all deliverables are accounted for
As the project milestone dates approach, the project manager will need to make sure that all deadlines are met and all deliverables are accounted for. This includes doing a final check-in with the team, as well as doing a quality control check on all of the deliverables.
Creating and managing project documentation
Throughout the project, the project manager will be responsible for creating and managing all of the project documentation. This includes everything from the initial project charter to the final quality control report, as well as training and client hand-off materials.
Is Project Management a Good Job (& Who Should Do It)?
Are you the type of person who thrives under pressure? Do you have a knack for keeping track of details and ensuring that projects stay on track? If so, then a career as a project manager may be the perfect fit for you.
As we've already discussed, a project manager is responsible for overseeing the planning, execution, and delivery of projects. This includes everything from developing project timelines and identifying risks to communicating with stakeholders and ensuring that projects stay on budget. In short, project managers wear many hats and play a crucial role in ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
While being a project manager can be challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding. Project managers typically earn high salaries and often have the opportunity to work on interesting and innovative projects.
It bears repeating that one of the most important skills for any project manager is strong communication. Project managers must be able to effectively communicate with team members, clients, and other stakeholders. This includes being able to clearly articulate objectives, identify risks, and provide updates on the status of projects. Effective communication is key to ensuring that everyone involved in a project is on the same page.
Another essential skill for project managers is excellent organizational skills. A successful project manager must be able to keep track of multiple tasks and ensure that they are completed on time. This often requires creating detailed project plans and timelines as well as maintaining regular communication with team members.
Strong analytical skills are also important for success as a project manager. This includes being able to identify risks, assess potential impacts, and develop mitigation plans. Having the long-term foresight to identify potential problems and take steps to prevent them is a valuable skill for any project manager.
Excellent organizational skills are essential for ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. However, flexibility and adaptability are also key since no two projects are ever alike. A great project manager is able to roll with the punches and make changes on the fly when necessary.
People skills are another must-have for any successful project manager. This includes being able to motivate team members, resolve conflict, and build relationships with clients and other stakeholders. People skills are essential for keeping projects on track despite any challenges that may arise along the way.
So, is a career in project management a good fit for you? If you have the skills and personality traits we've discussed, then the answer is probably yes. That said, there are a few other things to keep in mind before making the jump into project management.
What Are the Qualifications to Start a Job in Project Management?
There are a few different paths you can take to become a project manager. The most common is to get a bachelor's degree in project management, engineering, or a related field. Many project managers also have master's degrees or even PhDs. However, it is possible to become a project manager without any formal education.
Many companies require that project managers have at least a bachelor's degree, but some will hire candidates with relevant work experience in lieu of education. In fact, many project management positions are filled by people who started their careers in other fields and then transitioned into project management.
There are also a number of professional certifications you can pursue to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. The most popular certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute.
Earning your PMP certification requires completing a four-year degree, at least three years of project management experience, and passing an exam. However, the PMP credential can give you a significant leg up when competing for project management jobs.
Of course, education and formal training can be expensive and time-consuming. So, is it all worth it?
How Much Does a Project Manager Make in Salary?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your experience level, job title, and geographic location. In general, project managers earn salaries that are comparable to other professionals with similar levels of education and experience.
According to Salary.com, the median annual wage for project managers is around $135,000 per year. However, in addition to experience and location, salaries can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of the projects you manage as well as the industry you work in.
For example, project managers who work in the construction industry tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in the manufacturing or retail sectors. Additionally, project managers who work on large-scale projects such as building new hospitals or developing new software applications can earn significantly more than those who manage smaller projects.
In general, the larger and more complex the project, the higher the salary you can expect to earn. So, if you're looking to maximize your earnings, you'll need to focus on landing jobs that involve managing large projects in high-paying industries.
Of course, salary is just one consideration when deciding whether or not to pursue a career in project management. Job satisfaction, work/life balance, and job security are all important factors to consider as well.
Overall, project management is a great career choice for people who are interested in planning and coordinating the work of others. If you have the right skills and personality traits, pursuing a career in project management can be a very rewarding experience. Just remember to keep your educational goals and earning potential in mind as you embark on your journey to become a project manager.
9 Key Project management skills
There is no single formula for success in project management. However, there are a few skills and traits that all successful project managers share.
A successful project manager must be able to motivate and inspire their team to achieve common goals. The ability to lead is one of the most important skills for any project manager. A good leader is someone who can rally their team around a shared goal and make sure everyone is working towards that goal. They need to be able to communicate effectively, provide direction when needed, and be able to handle conflict. A successful project manager must also be able to create a positive work environment, where everyone feels valued and appreciated. When people feel good about their work, they are more likely to be productive and successful.
Communication is critical for project managers for a variety of reasons. First, they need to be able to effectively communicate with their team in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Second, they need to be able to communicate with their clients in order to ensure that they are satisfied with the progress of the project and that their needs are being met. Finally, they need to be able to communicate with other stakeholders in order to ensure that they are kept up-to-date on the project and that their input is taken into account. A successful project manager must be able to effectively communicate with all of these groups in order to ensure the success of the project.
A successful project manager must be highly organized and have a clear understanding of the project at all times. They need to be able to create a project plan and timeline, and they need to be able to track the progress of the project. A successful project manager must also be able to keep track of all the different tasks that need to be completed. One way to ensure that all these tasks are completed on time is to delegate responsibility to team members. However, it is also important for the project manager to regularly check in with team members and be available to answer questions or help with any problems that may arise. By being organized and keeping track of all aspects of the project, a project manager can ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
Time management skills
Closely related to having superb organization skills, being a project manager requires excellent time management skills. This is because project managers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a project, from start to finish. This includes setting deadlines, coordinating with team members, and ensuring that the project stays on track. A project manager who is skilled at time management will be able to keep everything organized and running smoothly while avoiding any last-minute rushes or delays. In addition, time management skills are also important for managing risks. By being able to identify potential risks early on, a project manager can take steps to avoid them or mitigate their impact. As a result, time management skills are essential for any project manager who wants to be successful.
Being a project manager requires being able to adapt and be flexible. This means being able to pivot when needed and being okay with changes. It is also important to be proactive instead of reactive. You need to be able to think on your feet and make decisions quickly. This can often be difficult, but it is necessary in order to keep the project on track and/or as new business needs arise during the course of the project.
Being a project manager requires more than just organizing and delegating tasks. In order to be successful, a project manager must also be able to think critically. Critical thinking involves the ability to analyze a situation and identify the best course of action. It also requires the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. Without critical thinking skills, a project manager is likely to make poor decisions that can lead to cost overruns, schedule delays, and ultimately, failure. Therefore, it is essential that project managers learn how to think critically in order to be successful.
A sense of humor
In any line of work, it is always helpful to have a sense of humor. However, in the world of project management, a sense of humor can be essential. After all, project managers are often dealing with tight deadlines, budget constraints, and difficult team members. In such a high-pressure environment, it is important to be able to laugh at oneself and diffuse tense situations with a well-timed joke. A sense of humor also helps project managers to build strong relationships with their team members. When team members feel like they can enjoy working with their manager, they are more likely to be productive and engaged. In the end, a sense of humor is an important tool for any project manager who wants to set themselves up for success.
Being a project manager requires more than just being able to handle logistics and coordinate different teams. A successful project manager also needs to be creative in order to come up with innovative solutions to problems that arise. Being able to think outside the box is essential for keeping projects on track and ensuring that they are successful. Additionally, creativity is also important for being able to effectively communicate with team members and stakeholders. In a fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, the ability to be adaptable and think on one's feet is invaluable - falling right in line with flexibility. Those who are creative can not only come up with original ideas, but they can also quickly adapt to new situations as they arise. For these reasons, creativity is essential for anyone who wants to be a successful project manager.
As we've established, being a project manager is not easy. You have to be confident in order to manage a project and the people working on it. If you lack confidence, people will see it and they will not take you seriously. A project manager has to be able to inspire confidence in others in order to get them to work together toward a common goal. By being confident, you are setting the tone for the entire project. People will look to you for guidance and they will trust that you know what you are doing. If you want to be a successful project manager, then you need to make sure that you are confident in your abilities.
Project Manager Methodologies
When it comes to managing projects, there is no one size fits all solution. The methodology you choose will depend on the specific needs of your project. Let's examine some of the most popular project management methodologies and their recommended use cases.
Agile is a flexible and iterative approach to project management. It is recommended for projects that require rapid delivery, frequent changes, or complex problem-solving. Agile focuses on continuous improvement and collaboration between teams.
Lean is a methodology that emphasizes efficiency and optimal resource utilization. It is often used in manufacturing or software development projects.
Waterfall is a traditional approach to project management. It is recommended for projects that are well understood and do not require much change. Waterfall is a linear approach that goes from one stage to the next in a straight, logical line.
Scrum is an agile methodology that is team-based and focused on delivering working software at regular intervals. It is recommended for software development projects. Scrum focuses on transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
Kanban is a visual approach to project management that uses boards to track progress. It is recommended for projects that have high amounts of work in progress or need more efficiency. Kanban focuses on visualizing work, limiting work in progress, and measuring lead time.
Extreme Programming (XP)
Extreme Programming (XP) is an agile methodology that focuses on delivering quality software quickly. It is recommended for software development projects where there is a need for constant feedback and frequent changes. XP focuses on communication, simplicity, and transparent feedback.
Six Sigma is a methodology that focuses on quality and defect prevention. It is recommended for projects that require a high level of quality control. Six Sigma focuses on defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling.
Key Goals & Measures of Success for a Project Manager
By now, we've well established that as a project manager, you wear many hats and are responsible for ensuring the success of your project. But how do you know if you're really being successful? By measuring your progress with specific goals and objectives, you can ensure that you're on track to meet your targets. Here are 8 metrics that will help you measure your success as a project manager.
Communication and Collaboration
Strong communication and collaboration are key to any successful project. As a project manager, you should be able to effectively communicate with your team and other stakeholders. You should also be able to collaborate effectively to get the best results from your team. If you can improve communication and collaboration, you'll see a positive impact on your project's success.
Productivity and performance
Another important metric is productivity and performance. You should aim to increase productivity and performance in order to complete your project on time and within budget. If you can improve productivity and performance, you'll see a positive impact on your project's bottom line.
Meeting objectives within constraints
A successful project manager strives to meet objectives while working within the given constraints. This means that you need to be able to juggle different tasks and deadlines in order to meet all of the objectives set for your project. If you can meet all of the objectives while working within the constraints, you'll be considered a success.
Being proactive to mitigate risks in advance
As a project manager, one of your main goals is to minimize risks in order to avoid problems during the execution of your project. By being proactive and taking steps to mitigate risks in advance, you can avoid costly delays or disruptions later on down the line. If you can effectively mitigate risks, you'll see a positive impact on your project's overall success.
Understanding company goals and implementing initiatives accordingly
In order for projects to truly succeed, they need to be in line with an organization's culture and goals. For this metric, it is essential for PM's take the time necessary to gain an understanding of what those overarching objectives are. After which, drive similar thinking into each decision made for their own initiative. Lastly, if successful, there will be organizational cohesion and teams will begin trusting in the PM's abilities.
Managing stakeholder expectations
Managing expectations is one of the trickiest parts of being an effective Project Manager. In order for this particular metric to be marked as "successful", PMs must find a balance between what stakeholders want and what is actually achievable. Reality check conversations might have to be had. However, if executed correctly, the result will be happy customers who recognize limitations but also trust in capabilities
Upgrading skills/certifications & expanding PM knowledge
The role of Project Manager is always changing. No matter how long somebody has been doing it, there will always be new challenges waiting. As such, it becomes increasingly important for PMs to continuously work at bettering themselves. Attending events, webinars, and training courses is a great way to improve your PM skills while learning about industry advancements. Taking a proactive approach to learning not only keeps individuals sharp, but also demonstrates a commitment to the role.
A good Project Manager knows that they cannot do everything alone. In order for a project to be successful, it requires input and contributions from every team member. As such, it is important to ensure that everyone on the team is pulling their weight and contributing as much as possible. If you can maximize contributions from your team, you'll see a positive impact on your project's overall success.
Improving your soft skills
In order to be an effective project manager, you need to have strong soft skills. This means being able to communicate clearly, both in writing and in person. You also need to be able to listen to and understand the needs of your employees. Additionally, it's important to be able to build relationships and trust within your team. If your employees don't feel like they can trust you, they won't be motivated to do their best work.
Aligning employee requirements with strategic objectives
As a project manager, it's your job to balance the strategic goals of the organization with the needs of your employees. This can be a difficult tightrope to walk, but it's important to remember that your employees are human beings, not just cogs in a machine. They have lives outside of work, and their mental and physical health should always be a priority. With that said, it's also important to remember that you're ultimately responsible for meeting the goals of the project on time and on budget. Finding a healthy balance between these two things is essential for success.
Leading by example
As a project manager, you need to lead by example. This means being organized and efficient in your own work so that you can set the tone for the rest of the team. It also means being open to new ideas and willing to change course when necessary. And finally, it means being calm and level-headed when things get stressful; if you freak out, your team will too. Keeping all of these things in mind will help you be a successful leader and an effective project manager.
The Best Tool for the Job: Workamajig Makes Project Management Easy
A project manager is responsible for the successful planning and execution of a project. They work with clients and team members to create a plan, track progress, and resolve issues along the way. Project managers are essential to keeping a project on track and ensuring that it meets its objectives.
Project managers benefit their industry by ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. They also ensure that projects are completed using best practices and meet all requirements while setting expectations and advocating for their team and stakeholders.
If you're looking to become a successful project manager, or need help managing your current projects, Workamajig is the tool for you. With our easy-to-use software, you can create project plans, track progress, and manage resources easily. Learn more about how Workamajig can help with your Project Management plans today.